A doctor gets a surprise visit from the young idol Ai who is looking to bring her twin babies to term in secret. While he sees her through her pregnancy, he is murdered by a deranged stalker the same night she gives birth. His eyes close one last time on the world, only to reopen as one of Ai’s children. Retaining his full memories and life experience, the man now named Aqua, must learn to live as an idol’s child alongside his sister Ruby, who has also been reincarnated. But their ideal life comes to a crashing halt when a tragedy strikes the family. Now, as Aqua and Ruby enter their first year of high school, Aqua seeks to find the person responsible for that tragedy and make them pay in Oshi No Ko Season 1 produced by Doga Kobo.
Oshi No Ko Season 1 is a tough series to talk about in a clean, coherent way. From its reincarnation-driven opening to its split plot lines that fill the season’s 11 episodes, a lot is going on, and it doesn’t all fit together in a nice, tidy way. This over-stuffed approach ultimately does the series more harm than good.
As the series plows forward it splits its time between its narrative threads and its thematic focus. The thematic focus is easily the stronger of the two pillars supporting the show. This theming explores the harsher side of celebrity life. From unhealthy fan obsessions, manipulative directors, and brutal internet judgment, Oshi No Ko dives into the tougher elements of stardom over and over again, with great effect. It pulls no punches, as it drives its cast to the brink at times, showing the absolute worst of society.
These themes are explored through the twins on their individual journeys. While these plots allow the series the moments that it needs to highlight the harsh reality of stardom, the stories themselves are mediocre at best. Ruby wishes to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become an idol, while Aqua pursues his revenge. Both of these stories suffer from their own, unique problems. Ruby’s story is extremely by the numbers. None of the early elements of her trek toward idol stardom pop or stand out. Aqua’s story on the other hand fails to be present most of the time. Oshi No Ko goes on so many side tangents as it delves into its themes that Aqua barely does anything regarding his own objectives. Despite the series pushing his storyline like it’s the primary focus of the show, it rarely has the time and presence to sell itself as that.
Further dampening the twin’s ability to carry the show is the omnipresent figure of their mother Ai. While the 90 minute premiere centers on Ai, from that point on she is pushed into the background so the twins can carry the show. But even in this secondary role, Ai captures every scene she is brought into. Even when she isn’t visually present in a scene, just the way she is spoken about builds a character that far outstrips her children in the show. While this allows Ai to be one of the best-supporting characters I’ve seen, despite her limited screen time, Oshi No Ko‘s love for her ultimately undercuts the show’s core performances.
The animation in Oshi No Ko is first-rate. Beginning with the numerous performance sequences, the show goes all out to bring the energy of live music to the viewer. The show does a tremendous job of using the camera’s movent to weave the viewer through high-energy stage performances, allowing the visuals to harmoniously build upon the enthusiastic vibe of the frequent pop songs. The skillful animation and camera work also apply to the emotional moments of the show. The art design is a particular highlight, depicting the characters at their lowest in such a way that the viewer is forced to understand and empathize with them.
When all this comes together, Oshi No Ko Season 1 leaves the viewer with an uneven feeling. While it hits its most dramatic moments wonderfully, its often meandering main plot and forgettable sub-plot, make the series’ best moments feel more like a string of isolated incidents than a truly cohesive presentation.
Oshi No Ko Season 1 is streaming now on HIDIVE.
Oshi No Ko Season 1
Oshi No Ko Season 1 leaves the viewer with an uneven feeling. While it hits its most dramatic moments wonderfully, its often meandering main plot and forgettable sub-plot, make the series’ best moments feel more like a string of isolated incidents than a truly cohesive presentation.